December 2017 Newsletter

In This Issue

NRFSN Webinar and Video Archive is Growing! 

The Northern Rockies Fire Science Network's (NRFSN) Webinar and Video Archive has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few months. We've been busy adding an array of recordings on topics including firefighter safety, traditional knowledge and fire, and the wildland urban interface. More than 560 webinars and videos are searchable by topic, ecosystem, and year, making it easy to find resources of interest.

In addition to NRFSN-hosted webinars, the archive includes recordings from the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP), the International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF), other regional JFSP Fire Science Exchanges, and a variety of other sources.  The archive is updated frequently, so do some exploring and check back often. 

Fire Continuum Conference – Field Trips & Workshops

Once again, the Association for Fire Ecology and International Association of Wildland Fire will join forces to bring you an enlightening and innovative conference. This event will be held on the University campus in Missoula, Montana the week of May 21-24, 2018.
Wildland fire science and management are defined by continuums. The Fire Continuum Conference will cover topics from science and management activities that take place before a wildfire occurs through fire incidents and post-fire activities.

Check out the draft schedule, and field trip and workshop information, on the conference website: The Call for Presentations is now open through February 6, 2018. Submit your presentation proposals here. Registration for the conference is also open - Register by January 31, 2018 for early bird rates. 

Hot Topics – A New NRFSN Website Feature 


NRFSN is excited to introduce Hot Topics - a new feature of our website designed to be your point-of-entry into resources on currently important fire topics in the Northern Rockies. For each Hot Topic, you'll find links to upcoming events, past events, and recorded webinars. You'll also find a list of the most relevant research briefs, syntheses, reports, and journal articles related to each Hot Topic, all selected and catalogued by experts in that field.

Right now, you can check out Hot Topics pages on: 

More Hot Topics are in the works, so check back often!

National Cohesive Strategy Workshop – Registration Open


Registration is now open for the 2nd Annual National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy Workshop in Reno, Nevada on March 26-29, 2018..

The 2nd National Cohesive Strategy Workshop theme is: Making a Difference – Building Capacity, Improving Preparedness, and Learning From Experience. The workshop aims to be innovative, constructive, and thought-provoking. It will bring together a wide range of parties interested and involved in the Cohesive Strategy.

The workshop will focus on building capacity in practitioners, improving preparedness to meet challenges, and providing opportunities to learn from both positive and negative past experiences. Attendees will be active participants in discussions as the workshop aims to blend science and experience into practices and processes.

Visit the workshop website for more information. 

A Note from Montana DNRC: 2017 Fire Season

This wildfire season brought unique challenges for Montana. Not only was the season exceptionally hot and dry over a long period of time, but the fires occurred across the whole state and the entire season. Typically fire season begins in eastern Montana and moves west by August, with the eastern portion decreasing in activity; this was not the case this year. The Department of Natural Resources and Conservation was not the only agency affected by Montana's uncharacteristically severe wildfire conditions; our federal, state, county and local partners also felt the heat.

What was originally predicted to be a "below average fire season" for Montana turned into a challenging fire season due to a phenomenon some meteorologists are calling "flash droughts" which affected not only one but two areas in the state.

As early as June, drought conditions arrived in eastern Montana. Governor Bullock issued an executive order declaring a drought emergency for 18 counties and two Indian Reservations. This was followed by a drought disaster declaration less than a month later for 28 of the 56 counties and five of the seven Indian Reservations across Montana. Five days after the drought disaster declaration was issued, Governor Bullock declared a fire emergency for the state of Montana.

In July, the Lodgepole Complex in Garfield County, the second largest fire in Montana history, burned 270,743 acres, caused huge devastation to local landowners. The end of August also brought two large fires in southeast Montana; the Sartin Draw Fire, 93,344 acres and the Battle Complex 90,957 acres. 

Fire suppression efforts in Montana continue to demonstrate the value of partnerships between our cooperators. This continued coordination with cooperators is what it takes to work through a wildfire season such as this one.                                        
- Mike DeGrosky, Chief, 
Fire & Aviation Management Bureau

View the full 2017 Wildfire Season Review here

Joint Fire Science Program FY18 Funding Update

JFSP logo

The Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) has released an update on their plans for FY18 research funding. Although a final FY18 appropriation has yet to occur, based on current information, JFSP has decided not to issue a primary Funding Opportunity Notice (FON) for FY18. JFSP still intends to issue a Graduate Research Innovation (GRIN) Award FON for FY18 sometime in 2018. Potential GRIN topics are described in the July 2017 Notice of Intent (NOI). JFSP advises investigators not to invest substantial time or resources working on proposals until the GRIN FON and its associated topics are formally posted. Find more information here.


January 10
The Wildfire Within: Firefighter perspectives on gender & leadership in wildland fire
Search the NRFSN Webinar Archive for recordings of past webinars

January 28-February 2, 2018
2018 Society for Range Management Annual Meeting
Sparks, Nevada

February 27-March 1, 2018
Wildland Urban Interface 2018
Reno, Nevada

March 20-21, 2018
Idaho Forest Restoration Partnership Workshop
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

March 26-29, 2018
2nd Annual National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy Workshop
Reno, Nevada

May 15-18, 2018
12th Fire and Forest Meteorology Symposium
Boise, Idaho

May 21-24, 2018
Fire Continuum Conference - Preparing for the Future of Wildland Fire
Missoula, Montana

Search the NRFSN Research & Publications Database

Fire and Future Climate-
Direct and indirect climate controls predict heterogeneous early-mid 21st century wildfire burned area across western and boreal North America

Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume 1

Evidence for declining forest resilience to wildfires under climate change

Fire and Disturbances-
Characterizing interactions between fire and other disturbances and their impacts on tree mortality in western U.S. forests

Fire and People-
Where you stand depends on where you sit: Qualitative inquiry into notions of fire adaptation

Sustainability and wildland fire: The origins of Forest Service Wildland Fire Research

Communicator's Guide for Wildland Fire Management: fire education, prevention, and mitigation practices

Fire Behavior / Prediction-
Effects of accelerated wildfire on future fire regimes and implications for the United States federal fire policy

Simulated fire behaviour in young, postfire lodgepole pine forests

Fire Effects-
A large source of dust missing in particulate matter emission inventories? Wind erosion of post-fire landscapes

Fire Management / Decision Support-
A framework for developing safe and effective large-fire response in a new fire management paradigm

A LiDAR-based analysis of the effects of slope, vegetation density, and ground surface roughness on travel rates for wildland firefighter escape route mapping

Using reverse geocoding to identify prominent wildfire evacuation trigger points

An empirical machine learning method for predicting potential fire control locations for pre-fire planning and operational fire management

Mountain big sagebrush - Fire ecology and management

Federal fire managers' perceptions of the importance, scarcity and substitutability of suppression resources

A review of challenges to determining and demonstrating efficiency of large fire management

Fire Regimes- 
Tree regeneration spatial patterns in ponderosa pine forests following stand-replacing fire: Influence of topography and neighbors

Deciphering the complexity of historical fire regimes: diversity among forests of western North America

Fire Severity-
Multidecadal trends in area burned with high severity in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area 1880-2012

Effect of particle aging on chemical characteristics, smoldering, and fire behavior in mixed-conifer masticated fuel

Surface fuel characteristics, temporal dynamics, and fire behavior of masticated mixed-conifer fuelbeds of the U.S. Southeast and Rocky Mountains

Are litter decomposition and fire linked through plant species traits?

Smoke & Air Quality-
Public use of information about smoke emissions: application of the risk information seeking and processing (RISP) model

Wildfire smoke exposure and human health: significant gaps in research for a growing public health issue

Phase dynamics of wildland fire smoke emissions and their secondary organic aerosols

As wildfires expand, fire science needs to keep up, from The Conversation

Northern Region Post-Fire Response - Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Status Update, from the U.S. Forest Service

Fighting Fire with Fire, from the Flathead Beacon

After a wildfire, attitude about recovery vary with sense of place and beliefs about fire ecology, from

Continuing the Conversation: Getting Fire Science Research to the Boots-on-the-Ground, from the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center


CONTACT US -- We'd like to hear your suggestions, ideas, and questions.

Vita Wright, Principal Investigator               |  406.396.5374                   
US Forest Service, Kalispell, Montana

Megan Keville, Acting Coordinator  |  406.781.2216 
University of Montana, Missoula, Montana

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